Many are wondering how California Chrome is doing after his trip east to the Philadelphia Derby. We certainly were and today we saw the press release on what is going on with the 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner. Whether California Chrome wins the Breeders’ Cup Classic or not remains to be seen, but one thing for sure: for the first time in seven races, he won’t be favored.
The Santa Anita Derby, Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner has been favored in his last six starts, four times at odds-on. But coming off two straight out-of-the money losses, that won’t happen when he runs in the $5 million, mile-and-a-quarter Classic Nov. 1 at Santa Anita, a race that could determine Eclipse Award winner for Horse of the Year as well as male 3-year-old champion of 2014.
After a grueling Triple Crown run that had the eyes of world focused on California Chrome this spring, Art Sherman agrees that the pressure is off for the Classic. “Oh, yeah,” the trainer said. “He’ll be five, six to one in that race. He’s been even-money every time he’s run every place else.”
That’s not to say Sherman doesn’t expect the California-bred son of Lucky Pulpit to rebound.
“He’ll work the next two Saturdays and ship to Santa Anita to school a week before the race,” Sherman said. “I think he’s excellent right now.” Asked if he was as good as he was before the Santa Anita Derby last April, Sherman said, “He’s doing good. He was sharp back then because he’d been running (having previously won the King Glorious and the California Cup Derby by a combined margin of nearly 12 lengths, followed by the San Felipe by 7 ¼ lengths).
Owned and bred by Steve Coburn and Perry Martin, California Chrome finished sixth in the Pennsylvania Derby on Sept. 20, his first race since his dead-heat for fourth in the Belmont Stakes June 7.
“I think he’ll be awful tough in the Breeders’ Cup,” Sherman said. “I think he’s going to run big. In the Pennsylvania Derby, he had no place to go. They were running him up a horse’s butt. You can’t run a horse like that.”
Asked if the Breeders’ Cup Classic might be California Chrome’s last race, with life as a stallion in the offing for 2015, Sherman said, “I just don’t know what the future is for the horse. It’s up to the owners. I kind of don’t know for sure.”